Must Have Kitchen Essentials for Beginners

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Moving to a new apartment for the first time? Or are you just beginning to experiment in the kitchen? Either way, as a beginner in the kitchen sometimes the most essential tools are the ones you would’ve never thought of. It’s crucial to have a variety of basic tools that will forever make life in the kitchen 100 times easier! Here are my top 11 kitchen essentials for beginners.


1| Measuring cups and spoons

Now, this might seem obvious, but I want to emphasize that not all are the same! I can not tell you how many teaspoons I’ve lost and how many measuring cups have been tossed because they just didn’t hold up. I would highly recommend purchasing stainless steel measuring cups and spoons so they don’t break and preferably all measuring spoons attached with a ring, but that’s just my preference. Make sure when you are getting measuring spoons to get a set that comes with 1/4 teaspoon, 1 dash and 1 pinch. Trust me, it will save you later! For measuring spoons here’s what I’d get: Norpro Stainless Steel Set or CIA Master's Collection.

2| Food processor

If I had to choose any kitchen utensil and throw all the others away I’d choose my food processor. The opportunities are endless with this little guy. Chop up vegetables, mix things together, create sauces, etc. Everything you do with the food processor will take a matter of seconds compared to chopping all of your vegetables by hand with a knife! Get this and you’ll never look back. Here’s the one I use.

3| Blender

I would totally recommend the VitaMix, but it is very expensive and in all honesty not completely worth it if all you want to do is make smoothies with it. There are many great options out there that are cheaper than the VitaMix, yet blend up smoothies and shakes really well. A blender is necessary for smoothies and shakes, however if you didn’t want to spend money on a blender I would think the food processor would also work well for smoothies and maybe even shakes. I haven’t tried it for that purpose, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

4| Two to three really nice knives

I’ve never been one to use a whole kit of kitchen knives, but then again I’m no chef. For beginners I would suggest investing in 2 - 3 really nice knives that can easily be sharpened. You don’t have to pay a fortune, but trust me, there’s nothing worse than trying to cut a tomato with a dull knife - hello pool of tomato juice. I LOVE Mercer knives; they’re super sharp and sharpen easily. You can find them here.

5| Cutting board

It goes without saying that a cutting board is essential for any kitchen. You may come across a point where you’re asking yourself whether you should get plastic or wood. From many articles I’ve read (this article is a good resource) there is a lot of debate on whether plastic is really safer than wood as plastic is more easily cut by the knife rather than wood, making plastic also prone to bacteria. I believe both are fine and that its a matter of which one you like better. Just remember to always clean it and keep it sanitized to prevent bacteria growth.

6| One to two non-stick pans

Non-stick pans are what you’ll need to cook most foods. Having two would be best in case a recipe calls for multiple ingredients to be cooked in different pans. However, you could get by with just one. In my experience, non-stick still needs to be sprayed with cooking spray to prevent foods sticking to the pan.

7| Big wok

This made it onto my list of kitchen essentials because sometimes you may want to cook a huge stir-fry for a group of people or for yourself for a few days. Most pans won’t hold as much food as a wok can, making a wok your go-to for bigger meals. Here’s what I use!

8| Parchment paper

I almost never grease my cookie sheets anymore. I don’t mean to sound lazy, but it’s such a hassle having to clean oily cookie sheets on top of all the other dishes you have to clean! Parchment paper is placed on top of your cookie sheet instead of using butter or cooking spray. When you’re done baking, just take of the parchment paper, throw it away and voila! Cookie sheets are clean.

9| Silicone cupcake holders

These are fairly inexpensive, they are re-usable, easy to clean and the best part is you’ll have them forever. These are much better than paper cupcake holders for all of the reasons I said above and you also don’t have to spray cooking spray/grease these as the silicone makes it non-stick. That’s a win-win-win-win in my book! Here’s what I use.

10| Glass containers

There will be times when you have left overs from a meal that you’d like to store in the fridge for a few days. Plastic is not my favorite, especially if you’re microwaving your left overs in these containers. Glass is a much better option. Invest in a set of glass containers; they’ll last you a long time and are spill-proof! These are my favorite ones because the lid snaps close, making leakage practically impossible.

11| Mason jars

I added these here for fun. They’re not exactly essential, but you’ll probably need containers to store things like flour, nuts, dates, etc. Mason jars are perfect for storing those items in and look great on your kitchen counter as a decoration as well!


There are obviously more kitchen utensils that you’ll need for day-to-day use, such as a can-opener and a spatula, but these are the top items that I wouldn’t have thought of when I first started out in the kitchen and I also couldn’t live without them now!

What are some of your kitchen essentials that you cannot live without?

Disclaimer: The links in this post are affiliated with Amazon. This means I get a small commission if you click on the link and purchase the item. This helps support ActivKel and, as always, I'll only link to items that I've previously used and think you will enjoy as well.

Posted on September 24, 2015 and filed under Fitness & Health.